noun, plural scru·ti·nies.
- a searching examination or investigation; minute inquiry.
- surveillance; close and continuous watching or guarding.
- a close and searching look.
noun plural -nies
- close or minute examination
- a searching look
- (in the early Christian Church) a formal testing that catechumens had to undergo before being baptized
- a similar examination of candidates for holy orders
early 15c., “a vote to choose someone to decide a question,” from Late Latin scrutinium “a search, inquiry” (in Medieval Latin, “a mode of election by ballot”), from Latin scrutari “to examine, investigate, search,” from PIE root *skreu- “to cut; cutting tool” (see shred (n.)). Meaning “close examination” first recorded c.1600. Perhaps the original notion of the Latin word is “to search through trash,” via scruta (plural) “trash, rags” (“shreds”); or the original sense might be “to cut into, scratch.”